Patent number 8540421 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Current transport airplanes include cargo fire detection and suppression systems. These systems typically detect a fire by detecting smoke and then suppress detected fires by replacing oxygen in a cargo compartment with an agent, such as Halon 1301. Thus, detected cargo fires are not extinguished but instead are suppressed. That is, the suppressed fires continue to burn--but at reduced temperatures.
"To that end, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 25.858(b) requires that transport category airplane cargo smoke detection systems 'must be capable of detecting a fire at a temperature significantly below that at which the structural integrity of the airplane is substantially decreased.' While some testing has been performed regarding cargo fire compartments, effects of a cargo fire on structural integrity of an airplane has not been investigated.
"Mathematical simulations, such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models, can be used to analyze adjacent structure or objects. However, predicted data from these mathematical models has not been correlated to data from actual fires. Therefore, aircraft designers would have to rely on many assumptions regarding effects of heat from a cargo fire in performing thermal analysis. Without validation of the assumptions, aircraft designs are conservative to err on the side of safety of flight. This approach can result in overweight design solutions and added cost in order to protect the airplane structure from the effects of a suppressed cargo fire.
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